Podiatry is an area of healthcare that focuses on the assessment, diagnosis and management of lower limb health problems. Podiatrists diagnose and manage numerous problems including gait disorders in children, adults, elderly and other specialist groups; treating sports injuries, foot and ankle pathologies and other painful conditions, using therapies such as foot orthoses, ankle-foot orthoses, exercises and gait re-training.
In order to become a Podiatrist, it is necessary to complete a 3 or 4 year BSc(Hons) Degree in Podiatry. The profession is regulated by the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC).
You can check the registration of our Podiatrists by visiting: www.hpc-uk.org
- Foot and ankle problems in general.
- Flat feet / over-pronation.
- High-arched feet.
- Children’s foot problems.
- Sports injuries.
- Running injuries and technique issues.
- Gait and biomechanical problems.
- Toe abnormalities.
- Pain at the front of the foot.
- Morton’s Neuroma.
- Plantar fasciitis / heel pain.
- Collapsed arches.
- Recurrent ankle sprains.
- Rheumatoid foot problems.
- Diabetic foot problems.
- Achilles tendon pain.
- Tibialis Posterior dysfunction / adult acquired flatfoot.
- Post-op rehab after foot / ankle surgery.
- In-growing toenails.
During an assessment, our Podiatrists will use a variety of techniques, intergrating a mixture of hands on, verbal and technological assessment to ascertain the nature of your problem.
The process starts with listening to you and your problem by taking a detailed history, which will help to form a picture of what treatment route might be best for you. Our Podiatrists do not simply immediately prescribe orthoses or braces as these are not indicated in all conditions. Rather, it is the assessment process that is key as this will identify any issues and gives our patients a better idea and understanding of what their treatment options are.
This will then be followed by a hands-on assessment and biomechanical examination to determine painful areas, restricted, weak or unstable joints, muscles or ligaments and changes in structural alignment.
Various other assessments can then potentially follow, but, generally, dual camera video gait analysis will be performed using software that allows the Podiatrist to analyse movement in walking, running or any other activities as the images are split into individual frames for detailed analysis.
It may also be necessary to perform pressure analysis using RSScan equipment which shows the pressure that is being put through your feet at each step and, when viewed in combination with the previous history, examination and video gait analysis, will combine to build a picture of your movement and how this may link in with your pain.
The results and indications of these examinations and other assessments such as footwear assessment, neurovascular analysis and running technique assessment, that may also have been necessary, will then be discussed with you to formulate an agreeable treatment plan.
- Foot orthoses.
- Ankle-foot orthoses e.g. Richie Brace, SAFO.
- Ankle braces.
- Gait re-training (including running gait re-training).
- Exercise programmes.
- Mobilisation / manipulation.
- Footwear assessment, advice and modification.
- Help and advice on how to manage your condition.
- Nail surgery: Podiatrists are qualified local anaesthetists and perform toenail surgery for the permanent removal of part, or all, of the nail. As this is done under local anaesthetic (like a dental injection), no hospital admission is required, allowing you to get up on your feet again more quickly.
Podiatrists are specialists within their field. However, at The County Clinic, we have an ethos of team working so you can be assured that we will be working as part of a specialist team, including Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeons, Physiotherapists, Radiology / Diagnostics and others, ensuring that, no matter what your condition, your treatment can be provided in one location and within the same team, in most instances.
Going to see a Podiatrist
When attending for the first appointment, it is important that you bring along some shorts or short trousers so that the Podiatrist can properly assess your lower limbs; a selection of shoes you would normally wear; any orthoses or braces you have previously been provided with and details of any previous or current medical treatment.
Private medical insurance
If you intend to see a Podiatrist using your medical insurance, it is very important to check with the insurer the level of cover provided, as it can vary widely. A number of insurers will cover your appointments, but very few will pay for foot orthoses and other appliances. Some insurers also require a referral from a GP or Consultant before cover is provided.
To find out more about Podiatry, please visit the Society of Chiropodists & Podiatrists, who are the representative body of Podiatrists, at: www.feetforlife.org